Hendrick Motorsports has gone in-house and chosen Alex Bowman to replace retiring NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson in the #48 machine in 2021.
On Tuesday, HMS announced Bowman, who currently drives Hendrick’s #88 Chevrolet in the Cup Series, will move to the #48 beginning with the 2021 season.
Bowman will take over Johnson’s ride and pick up his sponsor, Ally Financial.
Johnson is retiring from full-time NASCAR competition at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Bowman’s current crew chief, Greg Ives, will move to the #48 next season along with Bowman.
HMS said a driver for the #88 team in 2021 will be named at a later date.
“We have tremendous faith in this team,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
“Every season, Alex gets better. Not only do we see it in the statistics, but his confidence and leadership have truly blossomed.
“Today he’s a proven winner and playoff contender, and his best years are ahead.
“Greg has won championships and races, and he brings the #48 pedigree that’s invaluable.
“When you add in the amazing enthusiasm and support from Ally, it’s quite a combination. Their partnership makes it all possible, and we look forward to celebrating many successes together in the future.”
Bowman, 27, is enjoying his best season in the Cup series so far.
With five races remaining in the season, he is one of 12 drivers remaining in the playoffs and earned a victory earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway.
Bowman and Ives have qualified for the playoffs for three straight seasons.
“I’ve worked my entire life to be in a situation like this,” Bowman said.
“The opportunity to drive a legendary car like the ’48’ with incredible support from Ally, it truly can’t get any better.
“I’m excited to build on my relationship with Greg, who is a championship-caliber crew chief and knows first-hand what the #48 is all about.
“The pieces are in place, and I’m grateful to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and Ally. We’re ready to do it right.
“I can’t put my respect for Jimmie into words. To me, the #48 team’s legacy is about winning, but also how you go about your business.
“It’s leadership, confidence, work ethic, being a professional and holding yourself to a higher standard.
“No one will ever be Jimmie, and he’s given us a championship blueprint to follow.”